Dissertation on environmental pollution and global warming 27 08-2013


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Dissertation on environmental pollution and global warming 27 08-2013

  1. 1. 83 CHAPTER – I INTRODUCTION “Environment” is a difficult word to define. Its normal meaning relates to surrounding, but obviously that is a concept which is relatable to whatever object it is which is surrounded. Einstein had once observed, “The environment is everything that isn’t me”.1 Environment is a polycentric and multifaceted problem affecting the human existence. Man is nature’s best promise and worst enemy. If for the progress of the society industry is necessary, pollution is inevitable. Since progress and pollution go together, there can be no end of progress, and consequently, no escape from pollution. If Industry is a necessary evil but pollution surest sufferance. “Pollution” is a noun derived from the transitive verb “pollutes” which means to make foul or unclean, dirty, to make impure or morally unclean. “Pollution” also means the direct or indirect discharge by man of substance or energy into the aquatic environment resulting in hazard to human health, harm to living resources and aquatic ecosystems, damage to amenities on interference with other legitimate uses of water.2 The protection of environment is a global issue and it is not an isolated problem of any area or nation. The problem of environmental pollution in an increasingly small world concerns all countries irrespective of their size, level of development or ideology. Notwithstanding political division of the world into national units, the oceanic world is interconnected whole; and winds that blow over 1 See T.N. Godavarman Thirumalpad V. Union of India, (2002) 10 SCC 606 at 618. 2 Id., at 627-628. See also Halsbury’s Laws of England, 4th Edn. Vol. 38 para 66; Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board V.C. Kenchappa, (2006) 6 SCC 371.
  2. 2. 83 the countries are also one.3 If the nuclear test is carried out in one part of the world, the fall out may be carried by winds to any other part of the world and such fall out of irresponsible disposal of radioactive waste from a remote energy plant in one country may turn out to have greater adverse effect on the neighboring countries than the danger of fully fledged war.4 The problem of environmental pollution is not new in its origin. It is as old as the emergence of Homo sapiens on the Planet and it was realized in the times of Plato 2500 years ago.5 However, different dimensions of the problem of environment protection and its management have taken a serious turn in the present era. Today, Society’s interaction with nature is so extensive that environment question has assumed proportions affecting all humanity. Industrialization, Urbanization, Population explosion, poverty, over- exploitation of resources, depletion of traditional resource of energy and raw materials and the research for new sources of energy and raw materials, are some of the factors which have contributed to environmental deterioration the world over. While the scientific and technological progress of man has invested him with immense power over nature, it has also resulted in the unthinking use of the power, encroaching endlessly on nature.6 It is a basic right of all to live in a healthy environment. The acute poverty in the country requires developmental process to be accelerated, but we cannot do so at the cost of environment thereby endangering not only the present generation 3 M.C. Mehta V. Union of India, (1991) 2 SCC 353 at 354 4 Due to the agricultural chemicals, solvents and mercury, which flowed into the Rhine River during a warehouse fire in Switzerland, millions of fish were killed and the drinking water in the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands was threatened. 5 See Hambro, E., “The Human Environment-Stockholm and After”, Year Book of World Affairs, 20 (1974). 6 Shri Sachidanand Pandey V. State of West Bengal, A.I.R. 1987 S.C. 1109. See also T.N. Godavarman Thirumalpad V.Union of India, (2002) 10 SCC at 622
  3. 3. 83 but also the future generation. The crying need of the hour is the “sustainable development”. “Sustainable development” is that development which meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.7 At present, human beings are indeed at the heart of the search for sustainable development as our very survival depends on very narrow range environmental conditions. The line of thinking in Government circles could now change to address the above issues, with more awareness and the development of ISO 14001 by the International Organization for Standardization to provide organizations worldwide with a consistent and globally recognized structure for creating, implementing, monitoring and improving environmental management systems. The Government alone cannot accomplish much. Initiative has to be taken by the Common man in general and by Industry in particular. And to make a Company's Environment Management System a success, contribution should come in from every employee, no matter how small. As they say "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." Astounding Reality: • The Human race has only one or perhaps two generations to rescue itself • 420 million people live in countries which no longer have enough land to grow their own crop food and have to rely on imports • About one quarter of the developing world’s crop land is being degraded and the rate is increasing 7 See Our Common Future- The World Commission on Environment and Development, 43 (1987).
  4. 4. 83 • More than 500 million people are living in regions prone to chronic drought. By 2025 that number is likely to have increased fivefold • Global warming is accelerating and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached 370.9 parts per million • Global production of hazardous waste has reached more than 300m tonnes a year • About 30% of the world’s forests are seriously degraded or fragmented and are being cut down at the rate of 50,000 sq, miles a year! • The 20% of the world's people who live in the highest income countries consume 86% of the world's resources. (New Internationalist, March 1999) In India • Forest cover in India declined from 42% in 1947 to 5% in the next 50 years! • More than 40,000 people die a premature death every year due to pollution • Carbon dioxide levels are in excess of 500mg/m3 at traffic intersections which is five times more than the WHO recommended levels • Most surface water in India is polluted • India is home to the most degraded environment • Monetary loss due to water, air and land pollution is estimated to be Rs 20, 5 and 10 thousand crores per year respectively • Monetary loss due to water, air and land pollution is estimated to be Rs 20, 5 and 10 thousand crores per year respectively
  5. 5. 83 1. METHODOLOGY DOCTRINAL (TRADITIONAL) RESEARCH: PRIMARY SOURCES: Collected information from Various Text Books and Websites (Details are mentioned in Bibliography and Footnotes)
  6. 6. 83 2. HYPOTHESIS  The importance is given to Save Earth from Global Warming all over the world.  The environment pollution is due to cutting down the trees, increase in vehicles which resulting in giving out Carbon Dioxide, cutting down the hills, closing the lakes and converting them into residential and commercial lands, etc.,.  The nature is God given gift to the mankind which is hidden with many preventive measures in itself which man cannot think of.  The earth has its own tolerance level which man cannot test it. When the tolerance limit of the earth exceeds, mankind should suffer its after-effects.  Today, we think it is government’s job to save our planet. We do not ready to own any responsibilities in this regard.  Today a lot of NGOs, Giant IT Companies and Other Top companies in India as well as worldwide have come forward to work towards reducing
  7. 7. 83 Global Warming and prevent environment pollution so that attempting to save our natural resources.  As a first step, we have to bring this awareness among our people so that they could teach their children about starting saving our natural resources from home itself.
  8. 8. 83 3. PROBLEM The Global Warming is resulted in Global Problem today. It is the burning issue of today’s world. It is threatening to see that we are inviting our own end by ending our own nature for our selfishness. The global warming is being increased day-by-day which causing an alarm among the mankind. The global warming is being increased due to greediness and Selfishness of human beings which resulted in Environment Pollution. We are destroying our nature with our own hands. This made me to select this topic for my project. We need to give utmost importance in saving our own earth. A relevant education needs to be given to our children and youth in this regard. We need to bring awareness about avoiding environment pollution so that we can bring down the global warming. The environment is the surroundings in which an organization operates, including air, water, land, natural resources, flora, fauna, human beings and their interrelation. According to the first law of Thermodynamics, Matter and Energy cannot be created or destroyed. Thus we can never really get rid of anything! In the natural processes, matter and energy tend to flow in cycles. Environmental quality is maintained by these cycles and the interactions between them. Have you ever wondered that one day, there may not be anyone alive anymore? To be concerned about environmental issues is not done for the sake of the environment, but rather, to secure the people who are depending on it. The environment has arrived! It is no longer just the air we breathe, or the world we live in, it has become a requirement for businesses to address the environment in order to build lasting relationships with customers, and thrive in an
  9. 9. 83 ever more critical global economy. With many pressing problems in the world right now such as poverty, war etc, why do we need to show interest in the conservation of our environment? Planet Earth, the third rock from the sun and the fifth largest is home to a multitude of living creatures including homosapiens the two-legged; myopic; highly volatile and cantankerous creatures whose number has increased multiple times over in the last decade alone bringing with it a huge strain on the resources needed to satisfy his wants. In the last four decades or so, Man has become aware that not everything is well with his environment. He has come to realize that he cannot take Mother Nature for granted. Global warming, acid rain, the depleting ozone layer, delayed monsoons, floods and such natural disasters are issues that are beginning to worry mankind. To his dismay, he found that it does not take a nuclear bomb alone to destroy this wonderful planet that he lives on. Today, as he looks to his future, he sees natural resources like water, wood, oil etc., that he took for granted, dwindling away, and faces the bleak prospect of a life without many of these once abundant raw material. And when he started wondering how this horrifying thing was happening, he could see that he had himself and none other to blame for this catastrophe. If the Chernobyl nuclear accident and the Bhopal gas tragedy were examples of destruction due to industrial callousness, man got a taste of what unhygienic living habits could lead to after the calamity in the form of Plague in Surat.
  10. 10. 83 CHAPTER – II “ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION AND GLOBAL WARMING” Definition of Environment The term Environment is derived from the French word “Environner”, which means “to surround”. The term environment literally means the surroundings and conditions under which men live and work. Environment refers to the sum total of all conditions and influences that affect the development of life of all organisms. According to section 2(a) of the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986, “environment includes water, air and land and human beings, other living creatures, plants, microorganism and property.” Environmental Pollutant According to section 2(b) of the Act, “environmental pollutant means any solid, liquid or gaseous substance present in such concentration as may be, or tend to be injurious to environment”.
  11. 11. 83 Environmental Pollution According to section 2(c) of the Act, “environmental pollution” means the presence in the environment of any environmental pollutant”. (A) GENESIS OF THE PROBLEM In order to achieve sustainable development environment protection constitutes an integral part of developmental process and it cannot be considered in isolation. Peace, development and environment are interdependent and invisible.8 Today we are confronted with a perpetuation of disparities between and within nations, a worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy, and the continuing deterioration of the ecosystem on which we depend for our well-being. However, integration of environment and development concerns and greater attention to them will lead to the fulfillment of basic needs, improved living standards for all, better protected and managed ecosystem and a safer, more prosperous future.9 There is a close relationship which exists between a healthy environment and economic condition of the community at large. The problem of environmental pollution is the problem of both developed and under developed or poor nations. As far as developing nations are concerned, “poverty and lack of development” constitute an essential element of the problem of environmental pollution. In fact, the poverty is the worst form of pollution. The poor people who do not have means to get one meal a day, clothes to cover themselves and shelter to live in, cannot possibly think about the environment protection. For them any method by 8 Principles 4 and 25 of the Rio Declaration of 1992. 9 See the Preamble to the Agenda – 21.
  12. 12. 83 which they can survive is the best, least caring about its effect on the environment. They are not educated and hence they are not having enough awareness to know or understand the problem. On the other hand, the developed countries have problems of their own. Over Production, nuclear radiations, over exploitation of resources, industrial wastes in different forms, industrial accidents and the living style of the people are some of the contributing factors for environmental problem in the developed countries. The present century, particularly, in the later half has seen a lot of growth and economic development in almost all the countries. The methods of economic development, which mankind has followed, are also creating environmental problem. With the industrial and technological development, mankind has not only improved the economic conditions but also altered the natural ecological balance. Industrialization, urbanization and erosion of biodiversity have affected the natural environment adversely.10 (B) INDIAN SCENARIO In India, as elsewhere in the world, uncontrolled growth and consequent environmental deterioration is fast assuming menacing proportions and all Indian Cities and majority of the population are afflicted with the problem. Global warming, ozone depletion and toxic pollution are some of the negative effects of existing development strategy. 10 B.K.Jindal, K.L. Toky and Paramjit S. Jaswal, Environmental Studies, 292-93 (1997). See also T.N. Godavarman Thirumalpad V. Union of India, (2002) 10 SCC 606 at 621; Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board v. O. Kenchappa, (2006) 6 SCC 371 at 380.
  13. 13. 83 Today, most of our rivers are polluted. Deforestation of most of our forests is increasing day by day. Leakage of poisonous gases and other harmful gases, liquids and solid wastes from the industries has almost become a regular phenomenon of the present day. The problem of noise pollution, particularly, in big cities is at alarming stage. Land erosion through winds and water has become the common feature. (C) ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE IN INDIA Professor Paras Diwan has expressed the view that “traditionally we are a pollution loving nation”. According to him: We pollute air by bursting crackers on Diwali, Dussehra and on the occasions of marriages and other festivals. We pollute our rivers by disposing of our dead bodies and all other human and other waste. We take out so much wood from our trees for fuel that in many areas trees have become scarce. We are primarily a vegetarian nation, but our wildlife is on the verge of extinction. We are lovers’ cleanliness and, therefore, broom out all our household and other waste on the public streets. Any space is good enough for us to ease. We are a country which believes in open latrines. Municipalities are oblivious of their duties and all city wastes, human and industrial effluents are allowed to flow in open drains and to flood the streets. We are equally fond of noise pollution. God men’s voice must be heard by all, day and night, and our Ratjagas, Akhandpaths and ozone must use loudspeakers and amplifiers; no one should be deprived from hearing God’s and God man’s voice – and Gods too are far away beyond the hell and heaven. Our
  14. 14. 83 Voice must reach them; otherwise our spiritual needs will remain unmonitored. We are not less noisy in our secular matters. Our marriage and burial processions must be accompanied by bands, twists and Bhangras.11 However, from the above observations it should not be understood that in ancient India there was no concern for environment protection and that this concern is only of recent origin. In fact, the concern for environment protection in India can be traced back to the period between 321 and 300 B.C. The ancient Indian law on environment protection is found in Kautilya’s Arthashastra.12 It was the dharma of each individual in the society to protect the nature. The people worshipped the objects of nature. The trees, water, land and animals gained important position in the ancient times.13 The cultural and religious heritages of Indians show a deep concern for the protection and preservation of the environment. Environmental pollution was controlled rigidly in the ancient times. It was not an affair limited to an individual or individuals but the society as a whole accepted its duty to protect the environment.14 The Indian society has, since time immemorial, been conscious of the necessity of protecting environment and ecology. The main motto of social life has been “to live in harmony with nature”. Sages and saints of India lived in forests. Their preaching contained in Vedas, Upanishad’s, smritis, etc. are ample 11 Id., at 11. 12 See Armin Rosencranz., Shyam Divan Martha L. Noble, Environmental Law and Policy in India – Cases, Material And Statutes, 27 (1991) 13 C.M. Jariwala, “Changing Dimensions of Indian Environmental Law”, in P. Leelakrishanan (Ed.) Law And Environment, 1-25 at 2 (1992). 14 See T.N. Godavarman Thirumalpad V. Union of India, (2002) 10 SCC 606 Para 20
  15. 15. 83 evidence of the society’s respect for plants, trees, earth, sky, air, water and every form of life. It was regarded as a sacred duty of everyone to protect them. In those days, people worshipped trees, rivers and sea which were treated as belonging to all living creatures. The children were educated by their parents and grandparents about the necessity of keeping the environment clean and protecting earth, rivers, sea, forests, trees, flora, fauna and every species of life.15 In Hinduism, we find that from Vedic period, the environment was part of ethos of ancient people. In Rig Veda, it is mentioned that the universe consists of five basic elements. They are Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Ether (space). These five elements provide the basis for life in everything and man is ordained to conserve them. It is further ordained that nobody will destroy vegetation and no one shall kill animals. Thus, it shows compassion for both animals and plants. The basic tenets of Buddhism are simplicity and ahimsa or non-violence. Both these principles of Buddhism are of great importance in the conservation and protection of natural environment. The principle of simplicity teaches us that man should not overexploit the natural resources. Man should not become greedy to earn more and more in the shortest possible time by exploiting the natural wealth And leaving nothing for the future generation. The other basic principle of Buddhism, i.e., ahimsa or non-violence, teaches us that we should not kill animals. It shows the love for fauna and flora. In Buddhism we also find emphasis on tree plantation and their preservation. King Ashoka wanted the non-violence to be the cultural heritage of the people. Therefore, punishment was prescribed for killing animals. 15 See Fomento Resorts and hotels Ltd. V. Minguel Martins, (2009)3 SCC 57.
  16. 16. 83 The basic thrust of Jainism is on the minimum destruction of living and non-living resources for the benefit of man. People following Jainism also believe in the principle of simplicity, i.e., to meet their minim um needs without over- exploiting the nature and natural wealth. Thus, Jainism is also based on the principle which is in close harmony with nature and help in protecting and preserving the nature. The Holy Koran declares that everything is created from water. Thus, there is a significance of purity of water. Allah is considered to be the owner of land and mankind is the trustee or guardian whereas other living creatures are considered to be the beneficiaries. In Islam also there is close harmony between man and nature. Christians are baptized in water, as a sign of purification. In fact, in almost all religions, a common thread is the sacred quality of water. Pope Paul VI, in his message to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held at Stockholm in June, 1972 stated that the environment and resources are for everyone; they are inalienable property of everyone, and there does not exist over this universal property discretionary sovereignty exempting from responsibility towards the humanity of today and tomorrow. This message of Pope Paul makes it amply clear that there is a close link between Christianity and environment and the thrust is for sustainable development. The man of today should not exploit the natural resources in such a way so that nothing is left for the coming generations. Sikh religion is comparatively of recent origin. The concern for environment is evident from the fact that it considers every creature to be the
  17. 17. 83 incarnation of God and hence conservation and preservation are essential principles. (D) GLOBAL ISSUES OF DEPLETION OF OZONE LAYER AND GLOBAL WARMING (GREEN HOUSE EFFECT) The depletion of ozone layer and global warming (Green House Effect) is one of the major problems before the present generation. In order to understand the phenomenon of global warming and green house effect it is necessary to understand about the ozone layer and the role it plays in the protection of this planet Earth. 1. Ozone Layer Ozone (O3) is a colorless gas, which is allotropy of oxygen (O2). Thus, it has three atoms as compared to oxygen, which has two atoms. Ozone is produced by recombination of oxygen under the influence of ultraviolet radiations from sun in the upper layers of atmosphere. The ozone formation occurs 16 km above the surface of the earth. It is mainly found in the stratosphere and extends from 12 km to 35 km. This part of the stratosphere, which is rich in ozone, is called ozone sphere, ozone umbrella or ozone layer.
  18. 18. 83 2. Ozone Layer as Protective Umbrella The presence of ozone layer in the stratosphere forms a protective umbrella around the earth. It absorbs the harmful short wave ionizing ultraviolet (UV) radiations coming from the sun and thus prevents them from reaching the surface of the earth. These ultraviolet (UV) radiations are very harmful and if all the ultraviolet (UV) radiations coming from the sun reach the surface of the earth then there would be no life on this earth planet. Thus, ozone layer forms a protective umbrella around the earth and protects all the living organisms on the earth from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiations coming from the sun. In this way ozone layer acts as a great friend of mankind and all other living creatures. It also plays a crucial role in controlling the earth’s temperature, wind pattern and rain, etc. 3. Depletion of Ozone Layer and Ozone Hole This highly useful ozone layer blanket in the upper atmosphere has been under threat by a wide range of human activities. Though most of the ozone is produced above the equator of the earth as the maximum sun rays fall directly in that region, yet the highest concentration of ozone has been noted in the polar region. This is due to global air circulation. In the year 1985, Farman and his team of scientists noted that a gap or hole in ozone layer exists over the Antarctica region of the earth. This is called Antarctica Hole or Ozone Hole. In fact, there is no actual hole in the ozone layer has many adverse effects. The ultraviolet (UV) rays, which were earlier almost completely blocked by this ozone layer, can now enter the earth’s lower atmosphere to some extent through this ozone hole. This will increase gradually the level of ultraviolet (UV) radiations reaching the surface
  19. 19. 83 of the earth. As stated earlier, high level of ultraviolet (UV) radiations are harmful to nearly all forms of life. (E) PREVENTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION The global problem of the present day is the environmental pollution. The environmental pollution is a serious threat to the existence and survival of human race. Unpolluted air to breathe, uncontaminated water to drink, nutritious food to eat and hygienic condition to live are unavoidable essentials for survival of human race. Land surface, water resources, atmosphere, forests and wild life are part and parcel of the environment. An unpolluted environment helps all round development of one’s personality and a bad environment inhibits its development. It affects living beings both directly and in directly. So environment should be prevented from being polluted and destroyed. Man is considered to be the most intellectual gene among the creations of God. In his greed for socio-economic progress man has initiated exploitation of not only his co-human and other being, but also the bounty of natural resources. In this process man has reached to an extreme stage of polluting his own surrounding
  20. 20. 83 environment thereby endangering the very existence of peaceful and natural living of all beings. (F) CAUSES OF POLLUTION 1. Increasing use of chemicals and fertilizers in the productive process and programmers’ of industry and agriculture. 2. Growing methods of research and development in Science and Technology. 3. Atomic tests 4. Construction works leading to the emission of dust and other particles 5. Loud sounds and resounds causing vibrations and noise pollution 6. Deforestation for human dwelling and other purposes causing destruction of forest resources and wildlife 7. Mining Operations 8. Mechanization 9. Transportation 10. Unnatural storage of water 11. Unplanned sewerage and drainage systems 12. Population growth with concomitant poverty and frustration (G) GROWING ATTACKS ON THE ENVIRONMENT 1. Poisonous Gases In metropolitan cities of India around 800-1000 tons of poisonous gases are being released every day in the atmosphere in which 50% is contributed by Motor Vehicles, 20% by housing fuels and the rest by industries around the cities.
  21. 21. 83 2. Loud Noise In big cities noise pollution has reached up to 90 decibels as against the limit for human tolerance which is only 20-40 decibels. This is likely to cause high blood pressure, cardiac diseases and deafness. 3. Ozone Depletion In the atmosphere around earth, at about 16 to 60 Kms. above earth surface, Ozone gas forms a layer around earth. This ozone layer protects all inhabitants and vegetation on earth from the dangerous ultra-violet solar radiation which are powerful enough to damage living cells apart from causing sun-burns and skin diseases like skin cancer. Ozone gas is produced by the union of atomic oxygen formed by the splitting of molecular oxygen by sunlight with the molecules of oxygen. The emission of chloro flouro-carbons and nitrous oxide by industrial units on earth destroys this atmosphere ozone layer and causes the creation of holes in this protective covering of earth, resulting in ultraviolet sun light reaching earth which is responsible for the increase of skin cancer.
  22. 22. 83 4. Acid Rain The presence of dangerous gases produced by the burning of petroleum products and military ammunition on earth produces dangerous gases like sulphur dioxide and ammonia. These gases precipitate as acid rain on earth which contains sulphuric acid and nitric acid among other dangerous acids. The acid rain causes defoliation and death of trees, pollution of lakes killing all living creatures in them and ultimately resulting in infiltration of dangerous chemicals into the soil and ground water. 5. Nuclear Energy The use of nuclear energy on a vast scale by the developed countries for peaceful and military purpose has put the Mother Earth and the environment in a new danger of pollution by nuclear radiation. The life on this planet is becoming more dangerous with the addition of every atomic power station or atomic weapon. 6. Industrial Resolution The emergence of the Industrial Revolution encouraged the growth of factories and the labour needs of the factories resulted in the migration of population from villages to urban area which was largely situated alongside rivers. In these areas Industrial and household refuse and wastes are disposed off directly into streams and those results in the pollution of river water.
  23. 23. 83 (H) DESTRUCTION OF NATURAL CALAMITIES Over exploitation of forests have destroyed natural soil conservation, damaged water resources and natural compost and natural beauty. It has also resulted in increased release of carbon dioxide in the air (since trees are the pools/banks of the carbon dioxide), thereby creating the “greenhouse” effect. This “greenhouse” effect has added to global warming and change of climatic pattern throughout the world. As a result of which there is rain in the Thar Desert and Chirapunji is no more a place of highest rainfall in the world. Mythological studies reveal that when the degree of ‘Sin’ (offence) on the Earth raises to its maximal, making the life impossible, the God, the invisible, incarnates on Earth to be her savior. But to one’s own unexpectations, apparently, today, in the modern high-tech and scientific era, man, a creation of God, is self- volunteering to save the Mother Earth from growing ‘Sin’ of “Environmental Pollution”. In this direction, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held at Stockholm during the period from June 5 to 16, 1972 was the real maiden attempt. This conference has virtually alarmed the immediate need to take necessary steps to control the menace or dangers of pollution of earth, air and space. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development convened at Rio-de-Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992 (Popularly known as Earth Summit) also reaffirmed the philosophy as originated at the Stockholm Conference, 1972.
  24. 24. 83 (I) SOURCES AND KINDS OF POLLUTION The object of the environmental law is to preserve and protect the nature’s gifts to man such as water, air, earth and atmosphere from pollution. In order to effectively protect the environment from pollution, first of all we should ascertain the meaning, the sources, and different kinds of pollutions. 1. Natural causes: Pollution caused by the operation of natural forces such as cyclone, flood, earthquake, etc., are called ‘natural pollution’ or ‘pollution caused by natural causes’. In the case of natural pollution, there is no intervention of human agency. 2. Artificial Causes Pollution caused by intervention of human agency is called ‘artificial pollution’ or ‘pollution by artificial causes’. The following constitute ‘artificial pollution’: (a) Population Growth (b)Industrialization 3. Population Growth Population explosion is a serious threat to the developing countries like India. Population is growing by leaps and bounds. The rapid growth of population and consequential demand for food products, goods and commodities compel the people to exploit the natural resources without considering the adverse effect on
  25. 25. 83 environment. The discharge of house-hold wastes, dust resulting from construction work, fumes resulting from housing fuel, poisonous gases and sound emitting from motor vehicles, etc., cause pollution of water, air and land. 4. Industrialization The main source of environmental pollution is rapid growth of industrialization. Industries release noxious and hazardous gas (methylisocynate) released from Union Carbide Corporation India Ltd., on December 4, 1984 claimed thousands of lives of men and cattle. The wastes and effluents from the factories are released into nearby water bodies like rivers, ponds, lakes and the sea. This result in water pollution. The industrialization results in ozone depletion, acid rains etc., and making the life in the earth dangerous. (J) KINDS OF POLLUTION 1. Water Pollution Water is an important factor in the life of organisms. It is a universal solvent in which practically all the minerals, present in soil, may be dissolved. It supports life system. It covers about one-third of the earth’s surface. Clean and pure water is the inherent right of every man. Although industries and factories manufacture useful goods, they are also responsible for creating harmful waste products called “effluents”. They are generally released into nearby water bodies like rivers, ponds, lakes and the sea. These chemical effluents adversely affect the life of water animals and plants. Sea
  26. 26. 83 Water gets polluted by oil spillage from large ships resulting in the death of fish and other sea animals. Use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers also cause pollution to water. Water also gets polluted by human and animal excreta and dead organisms. This contaminated water spreads diseases like typhoid, cholera and jaundice. The presences of pollutants in water especially toxic substances either in the sea, tanks, ponds or wells have affected life on earth badly. People are not getting clean water to drink, for bath and household activities. In order to prevent pollution of water our Parliament has enacted the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. According to section 2(e) of this Act, “pollution” means such contamination of water or such alteration of the physical, chemical or biological properties of water or such alteration of the physical, chemical or biological properties of water or such discharge of any sewage or trade effluent or of any other liquid, gaseous or solid substance into water (whether directly or indirectly) as may, or is likely to, create a nuisance or render such water harmful or injurious to public health or safety, or to domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural or other legitimate uses, or to the life and health of animals or plants or of aquatics organisms. The following can be treated as water pollution Contamination of water which is likely to create a nuisance or render such water harmful or injurious to public health or safety, or to domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural or other legitimate uses, or to the life and health of animals or plants or of aquatic organisms.
  27. 27. 83 Alteration of the physical, chemical or biological properties of water which is likely to create a nuisance. Discharge of any sewage or trade effluent or of any other liquid, gaseous or solid substance into water which is likely to create a nuisance. The main cause of water pollution is the discharge of solid or liquid waste products containing pollutants. 1. Domestic and commercial wastes; 2. Industrial Wastes; 3. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers used in agricultural operation; 4. The acid rain resulting from air pollution; 5. Thermal wastes, etc. Various measures have been taken for prevention of water pollution in India. The Indian Parliament passed Act, as supplement to the Environment Protection Act, 1986 relating to quality of water. Water Pollution Control Boards have been set up at the Centre and State to promote cleanliness of water and to prevent pollution. The Municipalities are entrusted with the control of solid wastes through treatment plants, throughout the country. The Union Ministry of Forests, Environment and Wild Life have developed action plans for the prevention of pollution of the rivers, Ganga and Yamuna. Despite above efforts, the massive problem of water pollution still remains unabated. 2. Air Pollution Unpolluted air to breathe is the inherent right of every man. Air is the chief constituent of human life without which we cannot survive for a few minutes. Air is the mixture of various gases that forms the earth’s atmosphere and it extends up to the height of about 300 kms, above the earth’s surface. Various gases such as
  28. 28. 83 nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen and hydrogen which are present in the air perform various functions useful for living beings. The industrializations, motor traffic, construction works, housing fuels, incineration (burning of wastes like rubber, plastic products etc in open place) and natural causes such as earthquake, cyclone etc., cause pollution to air. In metropolitan cities of India around 800-1000 tons of poisonous gases are being released every day in the atmosphere in which 50% is contributed by motor vehicles, 20% by housing fuels and the rest by industries. According to section 2(b) of the Act, “air pollution” means “the presence in the atmosphere of any air pollutant”. According to section 2(a) of the Act “air pollutant” means “any solid, liquid or gaseous substance including noise present in the atmosphere in such concentration as may be or tend to be injurious to human beings or other living creatures or plants or property or environment”. The definition of air pollutant includes noise as a potential pollutant. As per the provisions of Act, the central and State pollution control Boards have been established to prevent and control air pollution. 3. Land or Soil Pollution The land or soil is considered to be the heart of life. The major source of land pollution is the massive amount of solid wastes disposed of by the people. This includes household refuse, commercial rubbish, industrial wastes, garbage, trash, automobile, tyres, cans, waste paper, etc. But the most dangerous pollutant is the plastic components such as plastic bags, plastic papers, plastic wrappers and other plastic products. These materials remain undecayed for a long time in the soil, and they not only have nuisance value but also are health hazards. Dumping
  29. 29. 83 of solid wastes into oceans will affect marine eco-system as well as territorial eco- system. Apart from solid wastes, land pollution is causes by the excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Fertilizers are used to improve crop production. Pesticides are chemicals used to kill insects that attack plants. Both are highly poisonous and harmful to human beings. Pests increase in number because of an imbalance in the ecosystem. If snakes are killed in large numbers, the number of rats will increase. If fish are killed in large numbers, mosquitoes will increase because eggs are food for fish. Mining operations, felling of trees, agricultural operations and urbanization result in land pollution. 4. Noise or Sound Pollution Noise is a form of sound. It is an unwanted or undesired and unpleasant sound. It is also termed as misplaced sound. It produces bad effect on health. The most commonly produced effect on health is the loss of hearing capacity and fatigue. It causes annoyance and sleep interruptions. It may affect digestive system. It may increase blood pressure. Industries, stone quarries, loudspeakers, automobiles, aircrafts, trains, construction works, Radio, Television, etc, are the main sources of noise pollution. In England, Noise Abatement Act, 1960 was enacted to prevent and control air pollution. In America, there is Noise Pollution and Abatement Act, 1970 for prevention of Noise Pollution. In India there is no law exclusively dealing with the problem of noise. However sections 268 and 290 of the India Penal Code, 1860, Chapter III of the Factories Act, 1948, The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and the
  30. 30. 83 rules made there under and the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 and the rules made there under are useful to prevent and control noise pollution. The Environmental (Protection) Rules as amended in 1989 prescribe ambient air quality standards in respect of noise. These standards lay down the day time and night time limits of noise in industrial, commercial and residential areas as well as in “silence zones”. The use of vehicle horns, loudspeakers and bursting of crackers is banned in silence zones. A ‘Silence zone’ has been defined as and area up to 100 meters around hospitals, educational institutions, courts, etc. Noise pollution can be mitigated by playing musical instruments at low volumes, banning the use of loudspeakers and using good quality silencers in motor vehicles and factories. In Church of God (Full Gospel) in India V. K.K.R. Majestic Colony Welfare Association (2000) 7 SCC 282, the respondent Welfare Association filed petition against the appellant, a minority denominational church, for causing noise pollution during the course of their regular prayer service. It was undisputed that the Church used loud-speakers, drums and other instruments during prayers. The appellant contended that the complaint was a motivated one, aimed at disrupting the religious activities of a majority religious institution. The High Court found that there was no malice or objectionable motive in the petition filed by the respondent Welfare Association. The High court clearly held that as the noise created by the church loudspeakers exceeded permissible decibel level it is to be reduced. The Church preferred an appeal to the Supreme Court.
  31. 31. 83 The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and held Undisputedly, no religion prescribes that prayers should performed by disturbing the peace of others nor does it preach that they should be through voice amplifiers or beating of drums. In a civilized society in the name of religion, activities which disturb old or infirm persons, students or children having their sleep in the early hours or during daytime or other persons carrying on other activities cannot be permitted. Aged, sick people afflicted with physic disturbances as well as children up to 6 years of age are considered to be very sensitive to noise. Their rights are also required to be honored. Under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986, rules for noise- pollution level are framed which prescribe permissible limits of noise in residential, commercial, industrial areas, or silence zone. The question is, whether the appellant can be permitted to violate the said provisions and add to noise pollution. Even to claim such a right it would be unjustifiable. In these days noise pollution has become more serious with the increasing trend towards industrialization, urbanization and modernization and is having many evil effects including danger to health. It may cause interruption to sleep, affect communication, loss of efficiency, hearing loss or deafness, high blood pressure, depression, irritability, fatigue, gastro-intestinal problems, allergy, distraction, mental stress and annoyance. This also affects the animal life. The extent of damage depends upon the duration and the intensity of noise. Sometimes it leads to serious law and order problem. Further, in an organized society rights are related with duties towards others including neighbors’. Under such a circumstances it is not possible to allow the Church to increase the noise pollution by beating drums or by use of voice
  32. 32. 83 amplifiers, loudspeakers or by such other musical instruments beyond the permissible limits. 5. Food Pollution Every living being requires food to grow and to obtain energy for carrying on his activities. If the food is polluted and adulterated it will cause injurious effect on the consumer. Food gets polluted from its source to its use. Food pollution begins when chemicals are used for plant growth. These chemicals directly and indirectly affect the quality of food. Food also gets polluted during processing, storage, transportation and retailing. In addition to the above causes the food is polluted by intentional act of food adulteration. In order to prevent food adulteration, the Parliament of India has enacted the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. 6. Radio-active Pollution Radio-active pollution is the pollution caused by the blast of atoms. Some elements like radium, uranium, etc, emit invisible effects known as radiations. The emission of these invisible radiations is known as radio-activity and such substances are called radio-active substances. Radio-active substances emit three kinds of rays known as alpha rays, beta rays and gamma rays. Out of these three gamma rays are most dangerous for living beings. Nuclear power plants and testing of atom bombs are the main sources of radioactive pollution. Atomic pollution is a slow and silent killer but very lethal. In order to control and regulate use of atomic energy, the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 has been enacted by the Indian
  33. 33. 83 Parliament. Nevertheless, our environment is exposed to greater atomic pollution due to the magnitude of use of atomic energy. (K) IMPACT OF GLOBAL WARMING Global warming is the greatest challenge facing our planet.16 It is, in fact, the increase in the temperature of the earth’s neon- surface air. It is one of the most current and widely discussed factors. It has far-reaching impact on biodiversity and climatic conditions of the planet. Several current trends clearly demonstrate that global warming is directly impacting on rising sea levels, the melting of ice caps and significant worldwide climate changes. In short, global warming represents a fundamental threat to all living things on earth. Global average temperature rose significantly during the past century. The prevailing scientific view is that most of the temperature increases since mid-20th century has been caused by increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations produced by human activity. Most scientists agree that planet’s temperature has risen 0.5 degree Celsius since 1900 and will continue to increase at an increasing rate. As a result, the world is getting warmer. Wetlands are lost as the level rises. Rise in atmospheric temperature will lead to the outbreak of air borne and water-borne diseases. It would also contribute to the rise in death caused by heat. The problem of drought would be frequent. Consequently, malnutrition and starvation will pose serious challenge before humanity. Global warming is a great threat to the flora and fauna of the earth. A large number of species of them may become extinct. The expanse of desert would increase. Low rainfall and rising temperature could add to the intensity and 16 http://www.shareyouressays.com/2893/1309-words-essay-on-global-warming-causes-effects-and-remedies
  34. 34. 83 frequency of dusty storm. This in turn will immensely affect the quality of agricultural land, ultimately causing adverse effect on agricultural produce. It would have far-reaching socio-economic impact. In Indian context, the impact of global warming is a matter of grave concern. As is well known, India is mainly an agricultural country and agriculture here is gamble of the monsoon, e.g. largely depending on rainfall. Though it is to affect the whole country, the worst likely impact would be on central and northern India which is high-yielding parts of the country. These are the regions which produce the largest agricultural yield. The rise in atmospheric temperature and fall in rain would naturally result in decline in crop production. Moreover, it would have great effect on biodiversity as well. The growing concerns over global temperatures have led to the nations, states, corporations and individuals to draw out a plan of action to avert the situation. As a result the world’s primary international agreement on combating global warming was reached in Kyoto in 1997 which came to be known as Kyoto Protocol. However, ten years have passed; the situation does not appear to be very changed. It seems that the member countries are not very serious about its devastating effects. In addition, forestation can be of great help in this regard. Planting more trees and reducing timber cuts worldwide will help restore the imbalance. Secondly, we must follow on environmental policy of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, i.e. promoting the reuse of anything. Thirdly, the use of fuel-efficient vehicles should be promoted as these vehicles have lower emissions of harmful gases. Fourthly, every individual should be aware of the importance of the protecting environment. Besides, eco- friendly technologies must be promoted, and must be substituted with the technologies which cause great emission of global warming gases. Public awareness campaign can be of great help in this regard
  35. 35. 83 because unless each and every individual is aware only governments’ effect cannot bring desired difference. One of the biggest problems facing the world today is global warming.17 Many scientists believe that our production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is having a heating effect on the atmosphere, and this could be very dangerous for human life. Many problems could result from global warming. One of the biggest problems is raising sea level. This could result in the flooding of low lying coastal areas and cities, such as Egypt, the Netherlands, and Bangladesh. Some countries might even disappear completely! Another problem caused by global warming is changes in weather patterns. Many areas of the world are experiencing increased hurricanes, floods, and other unusual weather. A third problem associated with global warming is the effect on animals. Fish populations could be affected, while some insects which spread disease might become more common. There are several things we can do to solve the problem of global warming. One solution is to stop producing C02. We can do this by switching from oil, coal and gas to renewable energy. Another solution is to plant more trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, which is not a greenhouse gas. A third solution is to use less energy and to recycle more products. Generating electricity is one of the main sources of carbon dioxide. If we use less electricity, we will produce less C02. 17 http://www.admc.hct.ac.ae/hd1/english/probsoln/prob_solv_gw2.htm
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  38. 38. 83 CHAPTER – III CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE AND INTERNATIONAL CONCERN (A) CONSTITUTIONAL COMMITMENTS Indian Constitution is perhaps one of the rare constitutions of the world which contains specific provisions relating to environment protection. It puts duty on the “State”18 as well as “citizens”19 to protect and improve the environment. The judicial grammar of interpretation has made the right to live in healthy environment as sanctum sanctorum of human rights. Now it is considered as an integral part of right to life under article 21 of the Constitution.20 Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution empower the Supreme Court and the High Courts, respectively, to issue directions, orders or writs, including writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari. The writs of mandamus, certiorari and prohibition are generally resorted to environmental matters. The Indian judiciary has made an extensive use of these constitutional provisions and developed a new “environmental jurisprudence” of India.21 In India most of the environmental matters have been brought before the judiciary through 18 See Article 48-A, of the Constitution of India 19 See Article 51-A(g) 20 For details of this aspect, see infra chapter III on “Constitutional Provisions and Environment Protection in India”. 21 See infra Chapter V on “Sustainable Development and Judiciary in India”.
  39. 39. 83 “Public Interest Litigation” (PIL). Out of all the legal remedies available for the protection of environment, the remedy under the constitution is preferred because of its relative speed, simplicity and cheapness. The Supreme Court while developing a new environmental jurisprudence has held that the powers of the Supreme Court under Article 32 are not restricted and it could award damages in public interest litigation or writ petition in those cases where there has been any harm or damage to the environment due to pollution. In addition to damages, the person guilty of causing pollution can also be held liable to pay exemplary damages so that it may act as deterrent for others not to cause pollution in any manner. The said approach of the Supreme Court is based on “Polluter Pays Principle”. 22 The Supreme Court has imposed exemplary damages on multinational companies such as Coca Cola and Pepsi for damaging the ecology in the States of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir by painting advertisements on the rocks. The Supreme Court directed the companies to remove these advertisements without further polluting the environment. (B) INTERNATIONAL CONCERN FOR ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT International concern for environment protection and sustainable development is comparatively of recent origin. The U.N. Conference on Human Environment and Development at Stockholm in 1972 is considered to be the Magna Carta of environment protection and sustainable development. This conference resulted in the “Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment”. 22 See M.C. Mehta V. Kamal Nath, (1997) 1 SCC 388. See also M.C. Mehta V. Kamal Nath, (1999) 1 SCC 702 and M.C. Mehta V. Kamal Nath, (2000) 3 SCC 745. For details see infra chapter V on “Sustainable Development and Judiciary in India”.
  40. 40. 83 The Declaration, besides preamble, consists of seven universal truths and twenty six principles. It proclaimed that man is both creator and molder of his environment which gives him physical sustenance and affords him the opportunity of intellectual, moral, social and spiritual growth. Both aspects of man’s environment, the natural and manmade are essential to his well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights even the right to life itself. The protection and improvement of the human environment is a major issue which affects the well-being of people and economic development throughout the world. A point has been reached in history when we must shape our actions throughout the world with a more prudent care for their environmental consequences. To defend and improve the human environment for the present and future generations has become an imperative goal for mankind- a goal to be pursued together with, and in harmony with, the established and fundamental goals of peace and of world-wide economic and social development. To achieve this environmental goal will demand the acceptance of responsibility by citizens and communities and by enterprises and institutions at every level, all sharing equitably in common efforts. Principle 1 on the Declaration rightly stated that “man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations”. The report of the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 not only provided impetus to sustainable development but also brought in to
  41. 41. 83 focus the common concerns of the people, the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 not only provided impetus to sustainable development but also brought into focus the common concerns of the people, common challenges which we face the world over and the common endeavors’ which we need for peace, security development and environment. Earth Summit of 1992 at Rio de Janeiro, through Rio Declaration and Agenda 21, has further concretized the concept of environment protection and sustainable development.23 In 1997 the World Climate Conference was held at Kyoto (Japan) where a historic accord was signed by the participating countries for mandatory cuts in emission of green house gases particularly by the industrialized nations to help in saving the planets from global warming. In August-September, 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. In this Summit the representatives of the people of the world adopted the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable development and to build a humane, equitable and caring global society cognizant of the need for human dignity for all. Different Conferences of Parties (COP) have regularly insisted on the reduction of Green House gases. The Kyota Protocol has also come into force w.e.f. 16.2.2005. 23 See infra Chapter IV on “Sustainable Development and the Law”.
  42. 42. 83 (C) PEOPLE’S RESPONSE AND ROLE OF JUDICIARY IN INDIA Enactment of a law, but tolerating its infringement, is worse than not enacting a law at all. Continued tolerance of such violation of law not only renders legal provisions nugatory but such tolerance by the enforcement machinery encourages lawlessness and adoption of means which cannot, or ought not to, be tolerated in any civilized society. A law is usually enacted because the legislature feels that it is necessary. It is with a view to protect and preserve the environment and save it for future generations and to ensure good quality of life that the legislature has enacted anti-pollution laws and incorporated many statutory provisions for the protection of the environment. Violation of anti-pollution laws not only adversely affects the existing quality of life but the non-enforcement of the legal provisions often results in ecological imbalance and degradation of environment, the adverse effect of which has to be borne by the future generations.24 The environmental imperative is ultimately a matter of public and private rights and duties and interests of future generations which are not available as negotiable commodities to be purchased at any “going rate”.25 Effective environmental protection and improvement is, therefore, a matter of legal rights and duties. Therefore, it is essential that the people should be aware of the adverse consequences of environmental pollution and they should not only protect and 24 Indian Council for Enviro-legal Action V. Union of India, (1996) 5 SCC 281 at 293 (popularly known as Coastal Protection case). 25 Law Society of India V. Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd., A.I.R. 1994 Ker. 308 at 321.
  43. 43. 83 improve the environment but also ensure the compliance of anti-pollution laws and if need be, to take help of the judicial forum to enforce such laws to maintain the ecological balance. Fortunately, in India, the people’s response to ecological crisis has been very positive. In certain cases they have formed the pressure groups and exerted influence on the government to take decision on certain developmental projects only after making proper environment impact assessment (EIS). For example, Silent Valley Movement in Kerala. The role of NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) in this regard is very important. The scientific and academic community has contributed their share in environmental decisions by new researches. For example, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur (NEERI); The Centre for science and Environment, New Delhi; the Centre for Environment Education, Ahmadabad, are a few institutions among many others in the country which are continuously engaged in conducting research in the field of environment. Some people have shown their deep concern for environmental issues by filing public interest litigations (PIL) and got favorable directions from the Courts in appropriate cases. In this regard the name of Mr. M.C. Mehta comes in the forefront who single-handedly has filed a number of public interest litigations in the Supreme Court relating to different aspects of the environment protection. Thus, the environmental activists, lawyers and judges have made their significant contributions. Local people of the municipality (e.g., in Ratlam) have raised their voice against the local authorities for the non-performance of their duties. Thus, in India, the people have responded to the environmental issues at local level, zonal level, and State level and at the national level in different ways.
  44. 44. 83 It is interesting as well as significant to note that in India different laws relating to environment protection recognize the role of people in protecting the environment.26 “CHIPKO” movement and “APPIKO” movement (in Karnataka) for saving the forests for exploitation are the examples of peoples’ responses for the protection of environment by their involvement. In Kerala, at the grass root level, the campaign against the Silent Valley Project was led by Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP). The Society for Protection of Silent Valley filed a PIL against the government to stop the execution of the project. There has been sustained agitation by certain environmentalists and social workers against the Narmada Valley Project. The movement is known as Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) or Save the Narmada Movement, which has been led by Baba Amte and Medha Patikar. The Tehri Bandh Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti (TBVSS), led by Shri Sunder Lal Bahuguna has been protesting against the construction of the Tehri Dam Due to its adverse environmental effects. 26 See for example, Section 91 of C.P.C.; Section 133 of Cr.P.C.; Section 49 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; Section 43 of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981: Section 55 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972; and section 19 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  45. 45. 83 The judicial response to almost all environmental litigations has been very positive in India. The primary effort of the Court while dealing with the environmental related issues is to see that the enforcement agencies, whether it be the State or any other authority, take effective steps for the enforcement of the laws. Even though it is not the function of the Courts to see the day to day enforcement of the law, that being the function of the executive, but because of the non-functioning of the enforcement agencies to implement the law, the courts as of necessity have to pass orders directing them to implement the law for the protection of the fundamental right of people to live in healthy environment. Passing of the appropriate orders requiring the implementation of the law cannot be regarded as the court having usurped the function of the legislature or the executive.27 Though the judicial development of environmental law has been vigorous and imaginative, yet at times it may be found wanting. It has certain limitations of its own. For example, in some cases frivolous or vexatious writ petitions are filed in the name of public interest litigation involving environmental matters. It has been noticed that such litigations are filed mala fide and arise out of enmity between the parties. 28 Sometimes the judicial order is not fully obeyed by the parties concerned. Even the government and its agencies like Pollution Control Board (PCB) have been issuing directions contrary to the orders of the court.29 The courts also do not have any scientific and technical expertise in environmental 27 Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action V. Union of India, (1996) 5 SCC 281 at 294 (popularly known as Coastal Protection case) 28 See Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar,(1991) 1 SCC 598; and Chhetriya Pradushan Mukti Sagharsh Samiti v. State of U.P., (1990) 4 SCC 449. 29 Vineet Kumar Mathur v. Union of India, (1996) 7 SCC 714. See also Vineet kumar Mathur v. Union of India, (1996) 11 SCC 119.
  46. 46. 83 cases and thus it has to depend upon the findings of various commissions and other bodies.30 It is because of this reason that the courts have suggested for setting up of environmental courts to deal with environmental matters.31 The government has set up the National Environment Appellate Authority in 1998 to hear the appeals with respect to restrictions of area in which any industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards under the environment (protection) Act, 1986.32 In View of the above scenario, following fundamental key issues arise for consideration: (i) How are the “environment” and “sustainable development” defined? (ii) How has the concept of sustainable development been developed at the international and national levels? (iii) What are the constitutional provisions in India for the protection and improvement of the environment? (iv) What is the existing legal mechanism ensuring environment protection and sustainable development? (v) Is the existing legal mechanism foolproof to ensure environment protection and quality of life for all? (vi) What has been the response of the people and NGO’s for the protection and improvement of the environment? 30 See M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, A.I.R. 1987 S.C. 965 (popularly known as Oleum Gas Leakage case). 31 Ibid, at 982. See also Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum v. Union of India, (1996) 5 SCC 647 (popularly known as T.N. Tanneries case) 32 See infra chapter on “Environment(protection) Act, 1986 and the National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997”
  47. 47. 83 (vii) What role has the judiciary played in providing impetus to the movement of environment protection and sustainable development in India? Is it only a cosmetic approach by way of public interest litigation or is there any substance in it? (viii) What is the impact of socio-economic problems such as poverty, illiteracy, over population on the environment? (ix) How to protect the victims of the environmental harm? And how the basic principles of sustainable development help in this regard? (D) COMMON LAW AND OTHER STATUTORY REMEDIES 1. Nuisance Nuisance means anything which annoys hurts or that which is offensive. It may be in the form of obnoxious smells, noise, fumes, air or water pollution due to the effluents or discharge or it may be any kind of obstruction which interferes with the right of the person to which he is otherwise entitled or exclusive use. Under the Common Law Principle, the nuisance is concerned with then unlawful interference with the person’s right over wholesomeness of land or of some right over or in connection with it. Nuisance can be further divided into two categories. These are: 1. Private Nuisance 2. Public Nuisance
  48. 48. 83 Private nuisance can be defined as an unreasonable interference with a general right of the public by above mentioned methods. However, the primary difference between private and public nuisance lies in the remedies sought. Public nuisance is both a tort and a crime. But private nuisance is not a crime but only a tort. In Ram Baj Singh V. Babu Lal (A.I.R. 1982 All. 285), a person built a brick grinding machine in front of the consulting chamber of medical practitioner. The machine was generating lot of dust and noise which polluted the atmosphere and entered the consulting chamber of the medical practitioner and caused physical inconvenience to him and the patients. The Allahabad High Court held that it amounted to private nuisance which can reasonably be said to cause injury, discomfort or annoyance to a person. The court granted injunction against the defendant. 2. Trespass It means direct interference with personal or proprietary rights without lawful excuse. The tort of trespass is actionable per se and there is no need to show damage as a result of trespass. There are two things which are required to be proved for constituting the tort of trespass, i.e., there must be intentional or negligent interference with the personal or proprietary right and secondly, such interference must be direct rather than consequential. For example, when A throws waste on B’s land or when a discharges effluent from his factory on the land belonging to B intentionally or negligently, it amounts to trespass. The aggrieved plaintiff can approach a court for compensation and injunction.
  49. 49. 83 3. Negligence Negligence means want of care. When there is a duty to take care and the care is not taken which results in some harm to another person, we can say there was negligence. It is based on the principle of fault. In order to succeed in an action for negligence, there has to be some fault on the part of the defendant. In environmental cases, the tort of negligence is utilized when other torts of nuisance or trespass are not available. In order to succeed in an action for negligence, it must be established that there was direct link between the negligence and the harm caused. Further, it has to be proved that the person guilty of negligence has not taken due care which he has required to take under the law. In Naresh Dutt Tyagi V. State of U.P., (1995 Supp (3) SCC 144) Chemical pesticides were stored in the godown in a residential area. Fumes emanating from the pesticides leaked to the contiguous property through ventilators which resulted in death of three children and an infant in the womb of the mother. It was held that it was a clear case of negligence. 4. Strict Liability and Absolute Liability The rule of strict liability was evolved in the year 1868 in the case of Rylands V. Fletcher (1868) LR 3 HL 330 by Blackburn, J. This rule provides that a person who for his own purpose brings, collects and keeps on his land anything likely to do mischief by its escape must keep it at his peril and, if the thing so collected escapes and causes any mischief he is prima facie liable for the damage which is the natural consequence of its escape. The
  50. 50. 83 liability under this rule is strict and it is no defense that the things scoped without that person’s willful act, default or neglect or even that he had no knowledge of its existence. This rule laid down a principle of liability that if a person who brings in to his land collects and keeps there anything likely to do harm and such thing escapes and does damage to another, he is liable to compensate for the damages caused. However, this rule of strict liability is subject to following exceptions: 1. An act of God (e.g., flood or earthquake) 2. The act of third party (e.g., sabotage) 3. The plaintiff’s own fault 4. The plaintiff’s consent (volunti non fit injuria) 5. The natural use of the land by the defendant; 6. Statutory authority The rule of strict liability is very useful in cases of environmental pollution, particularly, in those cases where the harm is caused by the leakage of hazardous substances. In order to have the applicability of this rule, two conditions must be satisfied. Firstly, there must be non-natural use of the land. Secondly, there must be escape from the land of something which is likely to cause some harm or mischief if it escapes. The rule of strict liability was evolved in the 19th century when the modern developments of science and technology had not taken place. It cannot afford any guidance in evolving any standard of liability consistent with constitutional norms and the needs of the present day economy and social structure. Therefore the Supreme Court of India propounded the Rule of Absolute Liability.
  51. 51. 83 The rule of absolute liability propounded by the Supreme Court of India is to provide a law to afford the change in society. The society is ever-changing and the law cannot afford to remain static. Law should keep pace with changing and the law cannot afford to remain static. Law should keep pace with changing socio- economic norms. If a law in the past did not fit in the present context, the court should evolve a new law. The rule of Absolute liability propounded by the Supreme Court is an extension Rule in Rylands V. Fletcher. The rule of absolute liability was propounded by our Supreme Court while deciding the case M.C. Mehta V. Union of India. (E) FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS RIGHT TO LIFE AND RIGHT TO LIVE IN HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT 1. In M.C. Mehta V. Union of India,33 where the tanneries were discharging effluents from their factories in the holy river Ganga resulting in water pollution and not setting up a primary treatment plant in spite of being asked to do for several years, nor even caring to express their willingness to take appropriate steps to establish primary treatment plant, it was held that so far as they are concerned, an order directing them to stop working their tanneries should be passed as effluent discharged from tanneries is ten times noxious when compared with the domestic sewage water which flows into the river. Accordingly, the Court passed the following order: We are, therefore, issuing the directions for the closure of those tanneries which have failed to take minimum steps required for the primary treatment of 33 A.I.R. 1988 S.C. 1037
  52. 52. 83 industrial effluent. We are conscious that closure of tanneries may bring unemployment, loss of revenue, but life, health and ecology have greater importance to the people. The Court also rejected the plea of financial incapability to set up the treatment plant. In this regard the Court observed: The financial capacity of the tanneries should be considered as irrelevant while, requiring them to establish primary treatment plants. Just like an industry which cannot pay minimum wages to its workers cannot be allowed to exist, a tannery which cannot set up a primary plant cannot be permitted to continue to be in existence, for, the adverse effect on the public at large is likely to ensue by the discharging of the trade effluents from the tannery to the river Ganga would be immense and it will outweigh any inconvenience that may be caused to the management and the labour employed by it on account of its closure. From the above decision it is evident that the Court has considered the protection and improvement of environment as a matter of general public interest and employed this tool in putting reasonable restrictions on the citizen’s right to carry on any trade occupation and business.
  53. 53. 83 2. In M.C. Mehta v. Union of India,34 (popularly known as Oleum Gas Leakage case), the supreme court one again impliedly treated the right to live pollution free environment as a part of fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.35 A clarion call was given by the Andhra Pradesh High court when 34 A.I.R. 1987 S.C 1086. See also A.I.R. 1987 S.C. 965. 35 Id., at 1089
  54. 54. 83 in monumental judgment of T. Damodhar Rao v. S.O. Municipal Corporation, Hyderabad,36 it observed: It would be reasonable to hold that the enjoyment of life and its attainment and fulfillment guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution embraces the protection and preservation of nature’s gifts without (which) life cannot be enjoyed. There can be no reason why practice of violent extinguishment of life alone should be regarded as violative of Article 21 of the Constitution. The slow poisoning by the polluted atmosphere caused by environmental pollution and spoliation should also be regarded as amounting to violation of Article 21 of the constitution. Thus, the right to live in healthy environment was specifically declared to be a part of Article 21 of the Constitution. In this case, the petitioners prayed that the land kept for recreational park under the developmental plan ought not to be allowed to be used by the Life Insurance Corporation or Income Tax Department for constructing residential houses. 36 A.I.R. 1987A.P. 171
  55. 55. 83 CHAPTER – IV ANALYSIS OF GLOBAL WARMING WITH INCIDENTS AND EFFECTS Global Warming affects the natural balance of environment. The world climate is going a significant change day by day.37 There are many causes of Global Warming. The destruction and burning down of tropical forests , traffic clogging up the city streets , rapid growth of unplanned industries, the use of CFCs in packaging and manufacturing products, the use of detergents etc. cause Global Warming. Besides, overpopulation, deforestation are the causative factors of Global Warming. The setting up of mills and factories in an unplanned way has a great effect on environment. These mills and factories produce black smoke which gets mixed with air and increases the amount of CO2. Burning of Gas such as Methane (CH4) and fuel also increase CO2 in the environment. Killing animals like birds, big cats, lions, tigers are also an alarming cause of Global Warming. (A) HARMFUL EFFECTS OF DEPLETION OF OZONE LAYER 37 http://www.preservearticles.com/201107119041/free-essay-on-global-warming.html
  56. 56. 83 Due to the depletion of the ozone layer, more ultraviolet (UV) radiations will fall on the surface of the earth and it will cause the following harmful effects: i. Increase in ultraviolet (UV) radiations will result in the increase of skin cancer among human beings and animals. ii. The increase in ultraviolet radiations reduces considerably the photosynthetic pigment of the plants. Thus, it adversely affects the productivity and growth of plants. iii. Ultraviolet radiations suppress the immune system of the body and thus many more new diseases will occur in the body. iv. The increased ultraviolet radiations will also kill many plants and animals and thus the food chain will be disturbed and consequently ecosystem will also be affected. v. The increase in ultraviolet radiations will increase the carbon dioxide (CO2) near the surface of the earth which will result in global warming vi. Due to the increase in ultraviolet radiations, the life on the earth planet will become impossible. (B) GREEN HOUSE EFFECT It has been discussed above that there is a protective layer of ozone in stratosphere, that is, in the upper part of the atmosphere. There is also a blanket or layer of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas in the lower atmosphere. When the sunlight consisting of ultraviolet rays, visible light and infra-red rays fall on the top of the atmosphere, then first of all the harmful ultraviolet radiations are absorbed by the ozone layer. The visible and infra-red rays pass through the
  57. 57. 83 layer of carbon dioxide and fall on the surface of the earth. It must be noted that the infra-red rays coming from the sun are of short wavelength and they pass through the layer of carbon dioxide easily. The infra-red rays have the unique heating effect in them so they heat the earth and various objects on the surface of the earth. Since the earth and its objects become hot, they also start emitting heat rays or infra-red rays. These infra-red rays are of long wavelength. These infra-red rays cannot escape out from the carbon dioxide layer in the atmosphere. In other words, the blanket of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere traps all the infra-red rays or heat rays in the atmosphere and the atmosphere of the earth is heated up. This heating up of the atmosphere of the earth due to the trapping of infra-red rays of long wavelength by the carbon dioxide layer in the atmosphere is called green house effect. Thus, green house effect is the progressive warming up of the earth’s surface due to blanketing effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The thick layer of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere works like the glass panels of greenhouse or just like the glass windows of motor-car, that allows the sunlight to filter through it, but prevent the heat from being x-radiated in outer space. (C) GREEN HOUSE GASES Those gases which can trap the infra –red rays to produce green house effect leading to heating up of the environment are called green house gases. We have already stated that basically it is the carbon dioxide alone, which is responsible for causing the green house effect. However, in addition to carbon dioxide, water vapors, methane gas, nitrous oxide and ozone layer also have the ability to trap the infrared- radiations and thus they are also called green house gases. But water vapors are present very near to the surface of the earth and ozone
  58. 58. 83 layer is present in upper part of the atmosphere and as such they do not contribute much green house effect. It is mainly the carbon dioxide, which is responsible for causing the green house effect. It is estimated that 72 percent of the global warming is contributed by carbon dioxide whereas methane is responsible to the extent of 18 percent for causing global warming. (D) IMPORTANCE OF GREEN HOUSE EFFECT The green house effect results in the heating of earth and its atmosphere which is very necessary for our existence because without it, the whole planet earth would be converted into an extremely cold planet, making the existence of life very difficult. Without green house effect, earth would be frozen waste land. (E) GLOBAL WARMING AND ACTION PLAN As we know the cause of global warming is the increase of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, so in order to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of the global warming, we should try to control the emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of the earth. Urbanization, industrialization,
  59. 59. 83 increased population, increasing vehicular use; changing life-style and decrease in forest cover are some of the factors responsible for increased rate of emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere of the earth. Today, the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide is 26% higher than pre-industrial concentration. In 1992, at Rio-de-Janeiro Conference two important conventions were signed. The first one was the convention on Climate Change and the second one was on Biological Diversity. The Convention on Climatic Change puts an obligation on every signatory State to take effective steps to reduce the emission of green house gases so as to protect the earth and its atmosphere from global warming. In June, 1997, at the Earth Summit plus Five at New York, it was pointed out that from 1992 to 1997 there has been increase of carbon dioxide concentration by 2 percent in the atmosphere of the earth leading to further global warming. (F) THE ASIAN HAZE OR ASIAN BROWN CLOUD In the beginning of the twenty first century, INDOEX (Indian Ocean Experiment) scientists have identified a new threat to the world climate. A UN study, commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), conducted by about 200 scientists, including Indians, have discovered a 3km thick deep blanket of brownish layer of pollution spread over south Asia and most of tropical Indian Ocean. To this they have named as “Asian Haze” or Asian Brown Cloud (ABC).” This is a major environmental hazard for the
  60. 60. 83 region. This haze consists of deadly cocktail of ash, acids, sulphates, nitrates, black carbon, and suspended particles in the air called aerosols and several other damaging air-borne pollutants. The burning of wood and fossil fuels causes a large part of aerosols. It can also result from natural causes like desert sand and sea salt. It may be noted that in the rural areas the cow dung and kerosene are used to cook the food and it results in air pollution. In the mega cities air pollution is much larger with contribution both from burning of biomass and fossil fuel combustion. In fact, poverty is one of the major causes of “Asian Brown Cloud.” Many people have criticized that why this haze should be called as “Asian Haze” or “Asian Brown Cloud.” Because the pollution likes corruption, is a global phenomenon. In fact, the study itself shows that sulphur dioxide emission by North America, Europe, China and East Asia were many times larger than those of South Asia. Man made aerosol pollutants are rampant in Europe and the USA. “Biomass burning “ from forest fires, vegetation clearing and fossil fuel was just as much to blame for the haze as dirty industries the South Asian region. The developed world’s progress has been based on the indiscriminate exploitation of the natural resources. The rest of the world is following the same route of progress. It is not the industry alone that pollutes, mechanized farming does the same. Some people have questioned the timing and veracity of the report regarding the Asian haze. According to them, the report was released in August, 2002 just before the start of Johannesburg Summit wherein it was to be used to pressure developing nations to agree on sharing the burden of cleaning up the earth’s environment. Whatever may be the timing of the report, we cannot ignore the fact there is continuous
  61. 61. 83 deterioration of the environment and the whole world has to think seriously about this growing threat. Some of the possible harmful effects of this “Haze” are as under: 1. It can reduce the solar radiations reaching the surface of the earth because the pollutants scatter and absorb the incoming solar radiations. This may result in the heating of lower atmosphere and decrease in the temperature of the land surface. 2. The reduction in the land temperature may radically change the monsoon pattern and thus cause drought in South Asia while the rainfall may increase over the oceans. The increase in the rainfall over the oceans may result in the flooding of the coastal regions. It is said to have caused a reduction in rainfall by 20-40 percent in northwest India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. 3. The haze could have potential effects on the agriculture. It will reduce India’s winter rice yield by 10 per cent. Similarly, it will also affect the wheat production in South Asian region. 4. The haze may lead to a spurt in respiratory and other diseases due to pollution and thus may become responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths a year from these diseases. Press reports emanating from London convey a shocking data that about 24,000 premature deaths occurred in India annually in the early nineties due to pollution and a few years later the figure jumped to 37,000 deaths every year. 5. The haze may cause acid rain, which will not only affect the agriculture but also contaminate water resources.
  62. 62. 83 This discovery of “Asian Haze” has sent a shock wave in the sub-continent and the countries likely to be affected from this are India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives. But the threat is not restricted to Asian countries. This has also frightened much of Europe. The UNEP’s executive director, who released the report at a press conference in London in August, 2002, warned that “there are global implications not least because a pollution parcel like this can travel half way round the globe in a week.” But it is not yet clear as to what is the relationship of haze to global warming, which the scientists believe is caused due to emission of greenhouse gases that trap the earth’s heat. It is also not clear how this will affect the world-wide concentration of ozone and other pollutants. The Asian haze only reminds man of the dangers of mindless pursuit of growth by ransacking nature’s reserve without replenishing them. Thus, the protection and perseverance of the environment is the need of the hour.38 Scientists agree that even a small increase in the global temperature would lead to significant climate and weather changes, affecting cloud cover, precipitation, wind patterns, the frequency and severity of storms, and the duration of seasons. • Rising temperatures would raise sea levels as well, reducing supplies of fresh water as flooding occurs along coastlines worldwide and salt water reaches inland. • Many of the world’s endangered species would become extinct as rising temperatures changed their habitat. 38 See, S.K. Bal and J. Mukherjee, “Asian haze: threat to world climate”, The Tribune, at 13, November 7, 2002. See also the Editorial, “The deadly haze”, The Tribune, at 10, August 17, 2002.
  63. 63. 83 • Millions of people also would be affected, especially poor people who live in precarious locations or depend on the land for a subsistence living. • Certain vector-borne diseases carried by animals or insects, such as malaria, would become more widespread as warmer conditions expanded their range. (G) CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS ARE THE BIGGEST PROBLEM Currently, carbon dioxide accounts for more than 60 percent of the enhanced greenhouse effect caused by the increase of greenhouse gases, and the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing by more than 10 percent every 20 years. If emissions of carbon dioxide continue to grow at current rates, then the level of the gas in the atmosphere will likely double, or possibly even triple, from pre-industrial levels during the 21st century. (H) CLIMATE CHANGES ARE INEVITABLE According to the United Nations, some climate change is already inevitable because of emissions that have occurred since the dawn of the Industrial Age. While the Earth’s climate does not respond quickly to external changes, many scientists believe that global warming already has significant momentum due to 150 years of industrialization in many countries around the world. As a result, global warming will continue to affect life on Earth for hundreds of years, even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced and the increase in atmospheric levels halted.
  64. 64. 83 (I) WHAT IS BEING DONE TO REDUCE GLOBAL WARMING? To lessen those long-term effects, many nations, communities and individuals are taking action now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming by reducing dependence on fossil fuels, increasing the use of renewable energy, expanding forests, and making lifestyle choices that help to sustain the environment. Whether they will be able to recruit enough people to join them, and whether their combined efforts will be enough to head off the most serious effects of global warming, are open questions that can only be answered by future developments.39 Global warming is the term used to describe a gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and its oceans, a change that is believed to be permanently changing the Earth’s climate. Even though it is an ongoing debate, it is proved by the scientists that the planet is warming.40 The 29th century is experiencing a continued increase of Earth’s mean atmospheric temperature by about 1.4 degrees F and about two thirds of it occurring since 1980. This is global warming is affecting the nature’s balance and has a huge impact on life like continued heat waves, and sudden occurrence of storms and floods. Don’t we see time to time the epidemics that are devastating to human life and the flooding of the farmlands that puts economy in a deep hole? 39 http://environment.about.com/od/globalwarming/a/greenhouse_2.htm 40 http://thecafetechno.com/tutorials/essay/global-warming-cause-effect-and-prevention/
  65. 65. 83 Scientific evidence indicates that since 1950, the world’s climate has been warming, primarily as a result of emissions from non -stop burning of fossil fuels and the razing of tropical forests. Since the industrial revolution till this day, there is a constant emission of the carbon into the atmosphere, everything we do we leave carbon footprints. It is a man made cause of the global warming. The global emissions jumped 3 percent in 2011 and are expected to jump another 2.6 percent in 2012, researchers reported. The greenhouse effect is a process by which the greenhouse gases absorb thermal radiation; these are then reradiated in all directions. But when some of these radiations come back to the surface and lower atmosphere, it causes increase in the average surface temperature leading to global warming. (J) GLOBAL WARMING CAUSES The causes are many of which the main culprit is the increase in the greenhouse gases that is produced by burning fossil fuel and deforestation, thus intensifying the greenhouse effect leading to global warming. The four main contributors of the greenhouse effect are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and ozone. Mining for coal and oil releases methane in the atmosphere. More ever the leakage from natural gas fields and landfills are additional source of methane. Excessive cutting down of the trees is another factor causing global warming. When deforestation happens the efficiency by which carbon dioxide is stored and oxygen released by the green plants are decreased to a huge rate in turn causing
  66. 66. 83 increased concentration of carbon dioxide that leads to increased greenhouse effect. The nitrous oxide from fertilizers, gases used for refrigeration and industrial processes are other factors that cannot be forgotten as the cause of Global Warming. Another source of methane is methane clathrate, a compound containing large amounts of methane trapped in the crystal structure of ice. As methane escapes from the Arctic seabed, the rate of global warming will increase significantly. Ice caps and glaciers reflect sunlight, bouncing high temperature sun -rays back into space away from the Earth. When these icecaps are removed the earth gets warmer as the dark oceans absorb much thermal radiation from the sun. Some regions may be wet with rain and some areas will suffer drought due to global warming. The climatic changes happen due to global warming. Seasonal changes are unpredictable unexpected thunderstorms might result as mentioned earlier. The burning of wood (should be reduced to a greater extent) releases oxidizable carbon to the atmosphere whose presence in greater amount causes the elevation of temperature. There is strong evidence that emissions of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were the major cause of the recent abnormal warming. Like carbon CFC do not trap heat but in the presence of UV rays the chlorine gets detached from CFC, drifts up
  67. 67. 83 into the stratosphere and these unattached chlorines catalytically convert Ozone molecules into Oxygen molecules depleting the ozone layer. (K) CLIMATE CHANGE One of the biggest threats to humanity & nature The impacts of global warming: It's nearly impossible to overstate the threat of climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions are rising more rapidly than predicted and consequently the world is warming more quickly. Global warming will have catastrophic effects such as accelerating sea level rise, droughts, floods, storms and heat waves. These will impact some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people, disrupting food production, and threatening vitally important species, habitats and ecosystems. Despite compelling scientific evidence, governments and businesses have responded very slowly. Even if countries fulfill all current mitigation pledges, the world will still face between
  68. 68. 83 2.6 and 4 ºC of warming. As we work to reduce emissions, we must simultaneously begin to adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change. (L) THE JOHANNESBURG DECLARATION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, 2002 A. From our Origins to the Future 1. We, the representatives of the peoples of the world, assembled at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa from 2- 4 September 2002, reaffirm our commitment to sustainable development. 2. We commit ourselves to build a humane, equitable and caring global society cognizant of the need for human dignity for all. 3. At the beginning of this Summit, the children of the world spoke to us in a simple yet clear voice that the future belongs to them, and accordingly challenged all of us to ensure that through our actions they will inherit a world free of the indignity and indecency occasioned by poverty, environmental degradation and patterns of unsustainable development. 4. As part of our response to these children, who represent our collective future, all of us, coming from every corner of the world, informed by different life experiences, are united and moved by a deeply-felt sense that we urgently need to create a new and brighter world hope. 5. Accordingly, we assume a collective responsibility to advance and strengthen the independent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development – economic development, social development and environmental protection – at local, national, regional and global levels.
  69. 69. 83 6. From this Continent, the Cradle of Humanity we declare, through the Plan of Implementation and this Declaration, our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life and to our children. 7. Recognizing that humankind is at a crossroad, we have united in a common resolve to make a determined effort to respond positively to the need to produce a practical and visible plan that should bring about poverty eradication and human development. B. From Stockholm to Rio de Janeiro to Johannesburg 1. Thirty years ago, in Stockholm, we agreed on the urgent need to respond to the problem of environmental deterioration. Ten years ago, at the respond to the problem of environmental deterioration. Ten years ago, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, we agreed that the protection of the environment, and social and economic development are fundament al to sustainable development, and social and economic development are fundamental to sustainable development, based on the Rio Principles. To achieve such development, we adopted the global programme, agenda 21, and the Rio Declaration, to which we reaffirm our commitment. The Rio Summit was a significant milestone that set a new agenda for sustainable development. 2. Between Rio and Johannesburg the World’s nations met in several major conferences under the guidance of the United Nations, including the Monterrey Conference on Finance for Development, as well as the Doha Ministerial Conference. These conferences define for the world a comprehensive vision for the future of humanity.
  70. 70. 83 3. At the Johannesburg Summit we achieved much in bringing together a rich tapestry of peoples and views in a constructive search for a common path, towards a world that respects and implements the vision of sustainable development. Johannesburg also confirmed that significant progress has been made towards achieving a global consensus and partnership amongst all the people of our planet. C. The Challenges we Face 1. We recognize that poverty eradication, changing consumption and production patterns, and protecting and managing the natural resource base for economic and social development are overarching objectives of, and essential requirements for sustainable development. 2. The deep fault line that divides human society between the rich and the poor and the ever-increasing gap between the developed and developing worlds pose a major threat to global prosperity, security and stability. 3. The global environment continues to suffer. Loss of Biodiversity continues, fish stocks continue to be depleted, desertification claims more and more fertile land, the adverse effects of climate change are already evident, natural disasters are more frequent and more devastating and developing countries more vulnerable, and air, water and marine pollution continue to rob millions of a decent life. 4. Globalization has added a new dimension to these challenges. The rapid integration of markets, mobility of capital and significant increases in investment flows around the world has opened new challenges and opportunities for the pursuit of sustainable development. But the benefits